Despite current evidence to the contrary, the future is still expected to be superior. All parents hope their kids will grow up in a safer environment, and for most people, that means a world without evil castles.
There is a decreasing return as more and more warriors fall victim to the castle’s monsters and traps, but the descendants of the first warrior to explore the stronghold remain dogged in their pursuit of the mystery beyond the fortress’s golden door. It’s been done that way for generations.
While Rogue Legacy 2’s concept is similar to the first, it’s what happens when the ideas from the previous game are taken to absurd extremes. With each fresh run generating money to spend on permanent enhancements for the next poor doomed descendant’s quest to eventually overcome every boss, trap, and monster the castle could spawn, the base design was already an exceptionally fun blend of roguelike and Metroidvania gameplay.
Rogue Legacy 2 expands upon the foundation laid by its predecessor while also introducing a number of new features and mechanics, allowing players to form a heroic dynasty whose members gain strength through time to the point where they would be able to undertake quests in the game’s later biomes.
The first warrior to test his abilities in the castle is as simple as it gets, and the process of leveling up rises in complexity from there. The hero is a typical swordsman, and his swing covers an area in front of him that is 90 degrees wide. The fighter’s primary attack differs from that of other classes in that it allows the character to move around while swinging, rather than being rooted to the spot.
Furthermore, the fighter is guaranteed to land a critical hit against an enemy if it hits them while using the useful dash move that is available to all characters. Additionally, each class has a unique ability that may be used at will with a cooldown, as well as a magic spell that draws from mana. Even while it’s tempting to just stick to the basics, a character’s true potential can only be realized when their whole range of skills is put to use.
The unlucky newbie warrior won’t go very far inside the castle before being overpowered, but the money they save up may be used to furnish the first room of a family manor after they die. Each chamber provides a unique benefit, ranging from a temporary health boost in the first room to a completely unique and difficult-to-decipher ability in the last room.
Returning from the original game are the blacksmith and enchantress, who sell both mundane and magical enhancements crafted from plans discovered in the castle, as well as the combat dummy, who provides advice on how to best utilize each character class, and Charon, who will return you to the castle at the cost of all remaining gold.
New stations, such as the challenge chambers, which provide soul points that may be spent on yet another upgrading path, become available as the journey unfolds.
Once you’ve made a few trips inside the castle, a plethora of choices to boost your descendant’s powers will become available, much beyond the amount of cash you’ll likely ever have. If your descendants want to equip heavier equipment like new armor and weaponry, you might consider spending a few points on their Encumbrance.
The number of runes an enchantress may wear at once is based on a different statistic than those used for her other skills, such as recovering some health from vanquished foes (scaled on either strength or intellect, user’s option and best suited to the qualities of the individual class). Relics in the dungeon, meanwhile, need Resolve to equip; nevertheless, exceeding the limit on this stat results in lowered HP.
Spending much on boosting Resolve is also recommended. Unless, of course, you want to see the whole castle and have access to all the character classes, in which case it would be preferable to obtain at least one level in all the rooms.
Even though Rogue Legacy 2 is a roguelike and the level design alters with each playthrough, the chambers and monsters inside each biome are static. Character choice is what makes each run unique, however. Each new run begins with you selecting three offspring to play as, each of which has its own character class and, in most cases, special ability. Others features are useful, like having a strong attachment from the outset; others are detrimental but compensate for it by increasing the amount of gold dropped; and some are simply entertaining or unusual.
Why is methemoglobinemia even a problem? Absolutely none, yet it is fun to take control of a dazzling blue hero. Clownomancy, on the other hand, seems strange, but the added air time gained by being able to utilize the spin-kick on the ground as opposed to specified objects is useful. Character classes provide the game’s true diversity, however talents and qualities might influence how you approach battle in a run.
In terms of how much they play, each class is unique. Although the barbarian’s axe swing is slower and more powerful than the fighter’s, both the fighter and the barbarian suffer from reduced impact when hitting while in the air. However, the barbarian’s spin allows them to rapidly land many blows. It’s true that both archers and mages excel at battling at a distance, however although the mage can hurl fireballs that penetrate walls, the archer has a considerably greater range and the recoil of the bow may grant additional air-time when used during a leap.
After that, the going gets really strange, with potent classes like the Astromancer’s black hole strike and the bard’s melodic notes requiring actual skill to squeeze the most out of. In a randomized run, even if you know what’s coming up, your character’s approach to the situation may be very different from that of another player’s.
After picking a hero and deciding how to spend the previous run’s loot, it’s time to go out into the castle and face the fresh challenges it holds. Like the original Rogue Legacy, the first region consists of a series of interconnected castle chambers whose structure is only gradually revealed as you go through the game. Each level often has a number of monsters and a few traps like spiked floors or flame throwers, but there are also breakable walls, challenge sections for platforming or fighting, mini-bosses, relic chambers, and a significant number of other surprises to make exploration interesting.
However, the new biomes lie beyond the castle, and their structure is unique, with far wider spaces and new obstacles to overcome. More advanced platforming abilities than those employed in the castle are required to traverse the second sector, which consists of a cluster of buildings perched over a poisoned lake and contains some of the game’s most difficult treasure boxes. There is a transporter at the castle’s entrance that can send you to any biome you’ve unlocked, but each biome is vast enough that it’s supposed to be conquered in a single run rather than chained together into what would be a multi-hour gaming session.
Rogue Legacy 2 is a massive, monstrous adventure that is jam-packed with lightning-quick action, fantastic platforming, and unlimited replayability. This is the type of game where it’s hard to put down the controller since the rewards you earn on one run provide you access to exciting new options in the next that you may feel compelled to explore. While advancement might be sluggish, it is seldom a chore; most hits and the eventual death of the current hero seem fair and preventable if you had been a little more skillful.
Generation after generation may give their lives for the castle and the territories beyond, but the family fixation endures and strengthens the family tree so that the following generation may build upon the successes of the previous. It may take many millennia, but the mysteries of the castle will eventually be discovered, since it is almost difficult to abandon the search.
Starting as a freelancer in 2017 while speed running Demon Souls, Greg eventually took a full-time position at Good2Game in 2021, where he serves as Associate Editor. He got his start in the industry making games, and he’s always been interested in the inner workings of games through the modding and speedrunning communities. He enjoys lengthy JRPGs, action survival games, and cooperative sandbox games.